DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE ACTION ALERT
Help Stop Anti-Wolf Legislation in Alaska


Karen Deatherage / Defenders of Wildlife / April 9, 2003

 

The wolves of Alaska urgently need your help. The state legislature is considering two bills - House Bill 208 and Senate Bill 155 - that will allow hunters to kill wolves from the air or spot wolves and then land their airplanes to shoot them as part of an authorized predator control program. Twice now, Alaskan voters have banned this notorious "land and shoot" method of killing wolves, for any reason. What's more, both bills allow for an unprecedented new policy of killing wolves as a "preemptive" measure to keep moose and caribou at high levels for hunters, even if populations of those animals are stable or increasing. If these bills pass, virtually all of the wolves on state lands in Alaska could be at risk, and hundreds of wolves would be needlessly killed.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Both bills are currently being considered in the Resources and Judiciary Committees. Please call and ask your state representative and senator to reject these bills. For information on who your representatives are, or contact information, visit http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/infodocs/infodocs.htm

Alaskans have made it clear through two ballot measures that same-day airborne wolf hunting by the public is not acceptable under any circumstance. Thanks for supporting Alaska's magnificent wolves.

TALKING POINTS

As a resident of Alaska and a supporter of wildlife, I vigorously oppose two anti- wolf measures - House Bill 208 and Senate Bill 155.

  1. On the 1996 and 2000 ballot, Alaskans strongly rejected same day airborne wolf hunting by the public. The state legislature should respect the wishes of Alaskans and not overturn the public's vote.
  2. Predator control when prey populations are stable or increasing is not acceptable wildlife management policy. Remind them that a recent poll showed 72% of Alaskans, including hunters, oppose aerial predator control as a means to increase moose and caribou populations for hunters.
  3. Using airplanes to spot wolves, and then land and shoot them, is inhumane and results in wounded animals. It is also unenforceable and can lead to abuses such as killing wolves outside the designated control area.
  4. Wolves are a natural part of Alaska's ecosystems and help maintain the health of prey populations by eliminating many sick, old and weak individuals. Years of scientific research on predator/prey relationships have determined that wolves and other predators are rarely the cause of declines in prey populations.

Once again, I urge you to reject these measures. Thank you for considering my comments.

If you want to do more, please contact the following committee members to stop same-day airborne wolf hunting in its tracks.

House Judiciary
Phone (907)
Fax (907)
Email + @legis.state.ak.us

 
McGuire, Lesil
465-2995
465-6592
Representative_Lesil_McGuire
Anderson, Tom
465-4939
465-2418
Representative_Tom_Anderson
Holm, Jim
465-3466
465-2937
Representative_Jim_Holm
Samuels, Ralph
465-2095
465-3810
Representative_Ralph_Samuels
Gara, Les
465-2647
465-3518
Representative_Les_Gara
Gruenberg, Max
465-4940
465-3766
Representative_Max_Gruenberg
 
House Resources
Fate, Hugh
465-4976
465-3883
Representative_Hugh_Fate
Masek, Beverly
465-2679
465-4822
Representative_Beverly_Masek
Gatto, Carl
465-3743
465-2381
Representative_Carl_Gatto
Heinze, Cheryll
465-4930
465-3834
Representative_Cheryll_Heinze
Lynn, Bob
465-4931
465-4316
Representative_Bob_Lynn
Morgan, Carl
465-4527
465-2197
Representative_Carl_Morgan
Wolf, Kelly
465-2693
465-3835
Representative_Kelly_Wolf
Guttenberg, David
465-4457
465-3519
Representative_David_Guttenberg
Kertulla, Beth
465-4766
465-4748
Representative_Beth_Kertulla
 
Senate Judiciary
Seekins, Ralph (Chair)
465-2327
465-5241
Senator_Ralph_Seekins
Ogan, Scott
465-3878
465-3265
Senator_Scott_Ogan
Therriault, Gene
465-4797
465-3884
Senator_Gene_Therriault
Ellis, Johnny
465-3704
465-3704
Senator_Johnny_Ellis
French, Hollis
465-3892
465-6595
Senator_Hollis_French
 
Senate Resources Ogan, Scott (Chair)
465-3878
465-3265
Senator_Scott_Ogan
Wagoner, Thomas
465-2828
465-4779
Senator_Thomas_Wagoner
Dyson, Fred
465-2199
465-4587
Senator_Fred_Dyson
Seekins, Ralph
465-2327
465-5241
Senator_Ralph_Seekins
Stevens, Ben
465-4993
465-3872
Senator_Ben_Stevens
Elton, Kim
465-4947
465-2108
Senator_Kim_Elton
Guess, Gretchen
465-2435
465-6615
Senator_Gretchen_Guess

BACKGROUND:

SB 155 and HB 208 are identical bills that (1) authorize a method of reducing wolves that Alaskan voters rejected in two statewide ballot measure votes in 1996 and 2000 and (2) drop a provision in law that requires prey population objectives to be used to determine whether predator control programs should be authorized, i.e., under the terms of the new bills, predator control programs can be authorized even if prey populations are high and predators are causing no problems.

Same-day airborne wolf hunting, also known as land and shoot, by the public, either as individuals or agents of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was clearly prohibited by the Referendum of November 2000 (Ballot Measure 6) as follows:

Ballot Measure 6 Language

"Voters are asked to either approve or reject a law allowing hunters to land and shoot wolves on the same day they fly. The law allows any person with a hunting or trapping license to land and shoot in areas established by the Board of Game. No additional permit may be required. The law also allows the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to use agents, as well as employees, to engage in same day airborne shooting of wolves. A yes vote rejects the law. A no vote approves the law."

147,043 voters approved rejecting the law (53.5%) on November 7, 2000

In the aftermath of this vote, predator control programs could still be implemented by the state under AS 16.05.783, involving shooting from wolves from the air, but the law limited the shooting to ADF&G employees.

The reasons for rejecting SB 155 and HB208 and keeping the prohibition against public land and shoot wolf shooting are as follows:

  1. Legislators should not overthrow the will of the people without a compelling reason. Such disregard for the majority on a statewide basis will undermine the Alaska public's confidence in government and raise questions nationally about Alaska's ability to wisely care for its resources.
  2. Under existing law, ADF&G already has sufficient authority to conduct predator control programs involving shooting from the air using department employees.
  3. As stated by ADF&G in 2000, land and shoot is the "wrong way to address wolf control," because it leads to other wildlife abuses, is unenforceable due to the remoteness of the country, and gives hunting a bad image;
  4. Using the public to conduct airborne wolf control raises serious accountability questions for Alaskans who remember past abuses associated with this form of shooting: if limited to ADF&G employees, such operations are more trustworthy and controllable;
  5. Using the public to conduct land and shoot or shooting from the air is an inefficient control method that results in wounding with no way to humanely dispatch a wounded animal;

Regarding the provision of SB 155 and HB 208 that removes prey population objectives as a factor in determining whether to authorize predator control, the fundamental basis for all of Alaska's predator control programs in the past has been to correct a low or declining prey population. To begin predator control when prey populations are high or healthy and before there is a problem is biologically unsound and poor public policy.


 
[HOME] [Back to Current Events Menu]

Wolf Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 671670, Chugiak, Alaska 99567-1670

© Copyright 2003
Wolf Song of Alaska.

The Wolf Song of Alaska Logo, and Web Site Text is copyrighted, registered,
and protected, and cannot be used without permission.

Web design and artwork donated by She-Wolf Works and Alaskan artist Maria Talasz
shewolfworks@alaska.com

All rights reserved